Putting a Face to a Name
The other day, I bumped into a friend, who’d seen my new book trailer for The Boy from France on Facebook (posted above, and on Youtube, so you can see it too). My friend said: ‘I really liked your trailer but I didn’t like the fact it featured actors playing Vix and Xavier. When I read a book, I like to imagine what the characters look like for myself. Now when I read The Boy from France, I’ll be thinking of those two people.’
This got me thinking. Is my friend right? Have I inadvertently spoiled the reading experience for my readers by making Vix and Xavier into flesh and blood? Or are readers now so used to seeing trailers and TV or film book adaptations that this doesn’t affect their enjoyment of reading?
When I write a book, I’m deliberately vague about what my characters look like. I might mention that someone is tall or short, dark or fair, but I’ll never describe them in great detail. That’s because I want my readers to create their own character images in their heads, like I do when I read a novel. For the same reason, I usually prefer to read a book before I see a film. (Keira Knightley is soooo not Anna Karenina.) The wrong actor will forever spoil a character for me.
When I cast the trailer, I chose people who looked similar to how I imagine Vix and Xavier to look – around the same age, with similar dress sense etc. – but they’re meant to REPRESENT my characters, rather than BE them.
What do you think about this issue?
Do you like my trailer?
Do you think seeing Vix and Xavier portrayed by ‘actors’ might spoil your enjoyment of the book? Or, if you’ve already read any of the Camden Town Tales books, does the Vix in my trailer look like the Vix you imagined?
I’d love to know!